When I started working in a call center again. Everything was difficult. I had no idea what I was doing. 

Training was confusing. 

We were only provided with concepts and tools for the job. The challenge was putting all the lessons together because we had no idea what the job looked like. The more lessons the trainer gave us, the more difficult it was to imagine or visualize the work.

I was afraid of the day they assigned us to the production floor to talk to real customers. I am going to fuck this up. I tell myself and I was right.

When I started everything was a disaster. 

My calls were super long. We were expected to finish somewhere around nine minutes. My calls take thirty minutes to an hour. I always have a team leader walking up to my station telling me that my calls are too long. I was lying about how we’re almost done. They come back I’m on the same call and I lie about how the customer had a new concern when we were about to end the call.

I can’t sell shit. We were expected to make one sale every one hundred calls. I made one sale per month or one sale every six hundred calls.

My customers hate me. I was not confident. I didn’t know what I was doing. They feel that they’re not in good hands. They are right. I kept getting asked to transfer them to a supervisor or to an american agent or simply to someone else because I “clearly didn’t know I was doing.” They were also right there. My boss hates me. All my poor stats are driving the whole team’s score down. My boss’s boss is telling him his stats are down and everybody knows it’s my fault.   This went on for several days.

I kept asking the person next to me and eventually, that person hates me too. I kept asking the same questions on the same situations and they feel they’re wasting their time and effor teaching me. Some of them just tell me to ask someone else or a team leader because they’re on a call.

I hate myself and I tell myself how stupid I am. Everyone in my batch seemed to be doing things right. Why can’t I do it? I’m starting to hate my job because of my poor performance. That was unjustified but I didn’t think of it at that time. Everything feels bad and everything sucks myself included. 

I told myself fuck it. I’ll just keep going to work until they fire me. It couldn’t get any worse right?

So I went to work with the intention of getting fired. I started taking my calls. I don’t care about the customer. Fuck you. I tell them in my head. But then I noticed someting. I was listening to the customer explain their situation. I was asking about what happened. I was asking my supervisor again. I was asking the person next to me again. I’m a bit fortunate. We weren’t working on a paperless environment. I was taking notes on the procedure. I was sleepy but I wrote down a summary of the problem and the solution and kept reviewing it.

I just try to remember one lesson from the day and wrote it on my notebook.

I was looking for difficult situations and I was trying to learn the solution. I sometimes write it on a post it note or my notebook.

I felt like playing a puzzle game.

I look at my shit stats and ask myself what’s the one thing I can improve on my calls.

I take note of supervisor calls and take note of the situation. I keep asking myself how I’d do it differently.

A few months later I still couldn’t sell shit but I was awarded top agent for exceptional customer feedback.

The little improvements tend to help you over time. 

If you’re having trouble with your job that’s fine. You’ll need to give yourself permission to fail. In fact, according to Josh Waitzkin in his book The Art of Learning, “you need to invest in failure because investing in failure enable you to build enough lessons that prepare you for future success.” Everything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. A skill is learned by exposing yourself to the steps. 

Ask yourself.

  • What steps am I doing right?
  • What steps am I doing wrong?
  • What steps can I improve?
  • How can I improve the steps?
  • What other/unrelated thing am I good at? 
  • What lessons can I apply from that unrelated skill to be successful in this line of work?

What is the price of good performance?

  • Giving yourself permission to fail.
  • A few questions to ask yourself.
  • One small improvement per day. 

I actually found the solution for the sales part but that’s for another story. I’ll tell you all about it on my other posts.

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<strong>The post is written by <a href=”http://kevinolega.com”>Kevin Olega</a> follow him on <a href=”http://twitter.com/kevinolega”>twitter</a>.</strong>